The Rise of China’s Xi Jinping | NowThis World

President Xi Jinping is China’s most powerful leader in decades And his plans for the rising superpower loom large over the country and its politics

Xi’s name has been attached to the country’s slogans and initiatives that reflect its newfound strength and identity, His vision for China’s next 3 decades – was even added to the country’s constitution in 2017 Xi has been in power for a years, but how much do we know about China’s powerful leader? Xi was born in Beijing in 1953 to Xi Zhongxun, a revolutionary who later worked alongside Mao Zedong as a vice premier of China The elder Xi was ousted from the party in 1962, and jailed during the Cultural Revolution a few years later The revolution was a decade-long push by Mao to solidify his control over the communist party and purge it of dissent In 1969, a teenage Xi moved from Beijing to rural China and worked alongside peasants as an agricultural laborer for several years

As was tradition in this rural part of China, Xi lived in a “cave house,” which is a home carved from a rocky hillside At first, this experience was too much for the young Xi, and he escaped back to Beijing Upon his return home, Xi was arrested by authorities It’s reportedly believed that Xi had to undergo six months of “re-education” before being sent back to his rural cave home Xi credits the hardships and poverty of his teenage years with giving him the perseverance that’s helped him move forward for in his political life

During this period of Xi’s life, he made several attempts at joining the Chinese Communist Party, or CCP but was rejected each time, due to his father’s poor standing with the party But then, when Xi turned 21, he was finally accepted to join the Party’s ranks By the time he was 25, his father had been freed from his imprisonment and selected to become the governor of a province on the border of Hong Kong During this time, Xi began to chart out his own path to power As he started his career, he sought to maintain good standing with the party by keeping a low profile

He would slowly work his way up the party while avoiding the issues his father faced Who came into conflict with the party’s leaders and their plans for China decades prior He also took positions in the party that would give him leadership experience and connections that would prove to be useful later on For example, in 1979, Xi took a military post and served under the secretary general of the Central Military Commission, the body that controls China’s formidable armed forces Later, after the end of the Cultural Revolution and its purges, millions of young people returned to China’s cities

Xi bucked this trend when he left his influential military post and instead requested a leadership position in Zhengding, a village in the poor, rural province of Hebei Xi’s decision to return to rural China helped his reputation as a local leader To highlight his loyalty to the party, he made sure to strictly enforce national policies, like one-child rule, at the local level His time in Zhengding was even memorialized in the novel “New Star,” which told the story of a young party secretary who brings modern ideas to a developing rural province Its protagonist was a composite character based on Xi and two other young officials

The book became a classic, bolstering Xi’s reputation even more In 1985, Xi’s father arranged to have his son moved to work in coastal provinces that were major economic hubs In Fujian and Zhejiang, Xi learned how to balance the interests of the party and business leaders, further establishing himself a pragmatic leader with the CCP While governing Zhejiang, one of China’s richest provinces, Xi encouraged factories to move further inland, and for private research and development facilities to replace them The plan worked, and R&D investment in the province increased by over 25 billion yuan over four years

Xi promoted large numbers of the officials he worked with in Zhejiang, giving him a strong base of political allies within the party that survives to this day This successful experience helped Xi land his next high profile promotion In 2007, he was chosen to become party chief of Shanghai, China’s most-populous city and a major commercial center Just a few months later, Xi’s decades of hard work culminated in a promotion to the Politburo Standing Committee, the most powerful political body in the Chinese government He was considered one of the most likely successors to then-President Hu Jintao

Xi was unique among the eight member of the Standing Committee: While other members were either born into poverty or privilege, Xi had experienced both Xi’s position as potential successor to Hu Jintao was strengthened a year later, when he was put in charge of a high-level working group to prepare for the 2008 Beijing Olympics In 2012, Xi was elevated to General Secretary of the Communist Party and Chairman of the Central Military Commission Now, Xi had two powerful titles under his belt, and embarked on an anti-corruption crackdown But critics say the drive wasn’t purely about fighting corruption, which had become systemic throughout the party

The drive also served to neutralize Xi’s potential political opponents in places where his rivals had strong support: the army, energy sectors, and China’s southern provinces, such as Sichuan Thousands of officials were punished for corruption, or “discipline violations,” including Bo Xilai and Sun Zhengcai, who were two of Xi’s potential rivals Then in 2013, the National People’s Congress elected Xi President of the People’s Republic of China His early Presidency was focused on using his newfound power to continue to combat corruption within the CCP These corruption drives helped maintain the party’s popularity in China despite the country’s slowing growth rates

More recently, Xi’s agenda has pivoted to foreign policy, and more specifically, strengthening China’s position on the world stage Xi used the slogan “China Dream” to sell this agenda to the Chinese people Some observers say that for Xi, China’s strength will come from recovering the country’s dominance across Asia and strengthening its control over regions that the CCP considers to be “greater China” like Tibet, Xinjiang, Hong Kong and Taiwan Xi has long term plans to pursue influence even further abroad Projects like the “Belt and Road Initiative” are integral to Xi’s goal of turning China’s economic strength into political influence

And he’ll have plenty of time to do it In 2018, the National People’s Congress voted to eliminate term limits that had been in place since 1982 This means Xi could be the leader of in charge of China indefinitely

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